Thursday, 2 October 2008

Jokes and their relation to my unconscious, part three

So what about that woman from northern Hertfordshire and her relationship to Mendelian genetic theory? Again, it’s not really a joke, more a witticism — if one that some people really won’t find at all funny. It’s a limerick — related to me and a roomful of fellow students in New Cross and the early 1970s.

There was a young woman from Tring
Who had an affair with a darkie.
The result of their fling
Was not one but four offspring:
One black, one white and two khaki.

And that’s how genetic inheritance works — in the case of skin colour and other things, though perhaps not everything, my memory fails at this point. Fifty per cent of children will be a mix of their parents stuff and fifty per cent will be a copy of one or other of their parents.

I’d been taught it already at school, as part of O level biology — something to do with clematis plants, I think, or maybe it was aphids, something English country gardenish, anyway, the way things were in education in those days. But it didn’t really stick till one of my university lecturers told us that limerick. Couldn’t really forget it after that, could I? Can’t imagine it being used on a 2008 university psychology course, though, can you?

No comments: